Friday, January 30, 2015

Loose dogs maul N.J. cats, elderly owner witnesses attack

NEW JERSEY -- An elderly woman witnessed a dog attack today that left her two longtime cats dead.

Township animal control officer Nate Barson was already looking for the dogs when the attack occurred, called by one of the woman's neighbors.

It happened on Jan. 30 at about 11:30 a.m. According to township police, the woman noticed the two dogs on her porch, and snapped a photo of them. She hadn't seen anything amiss at that point, but was apparently uneasy about their proximity.

A short time later, they said she looked outside and saw that one of the dogs had one of her cat's by its head, while the second dog had the cat's tail in his mouth.

She called for help and Barson arrived in time to snap a photo of the dogs escaping into a wooded areas behind homes in the 400 block of Riegelsville Road.

Authorities want to find the dogs, and are also warning area residents to safely secure small pets and farm animals. They ask anyone who sees the dogs to keep their distance and "immediately" call township police at 908-995-4670.

The woman had shared her home with tan-colored "Donavan" and grey-colored "Butch" for 10 years and was deeply upset by the attacks, officials said. Her home is set back from the road and, as is common in such areas, her cats moved between the outside and indoors.

Police said the dogs were clearly on the woman's property when the cats were attacked; her second cat was discovered dead when Barson arrived.

Barson said the two dogs appear to be about 60-70 pounds and at least one is a male. He said they could be Rhodesian ridgebacks, Black mouth curs or a boxer mix.

He said one neighbor tried to get the dogs to come to her with treats, but they were too skittish to approach.

Barson is having the cats cremated at no cost to their distraught owner, and having the ashes returned to her. He said the rescue Tabby's Place is helping with this.

The owners of the dogs could face penalties or be required to make restitution to the cats' owner. Officials want to make sure the dogs have current vaccinations. Anyone with information on them may also call Barson at 908-899-1115.

( - Jan 30, 2015)

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